Punjab Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Congress' Sukhpal Khaira Poses Tough Challenge To AAP’s Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer In Sangrur

Punjab Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Congress' Sukhpal Khaira Poses Tough Challenge To AAP’s Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer In Sangrur

Congress’ fire brand leader Sukhpal Khaira appears to be posing a tough challenge to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Cabinet minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, the home turf of chief minister Bhagwant Mann.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 07:30 PM IST
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Sukhpal Khaira And Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer | | Facebook

Chandigarh: Congress’ fire brand leader Sukhpal Khaira appears to be posing a tough challenge to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Cabinet minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, the home turf of chief minister Bhagwant Mann.

Mann has been an MP twice from Sangrur, before he won the 2022 assembly election from its Dhuri assembly segment and became the chief minister. Hayer has been a legislator from Barnala segment twice and is a confidant of Mann. Hence a bastion of both Mann and Hayer - all the nine segments under this Lok Sabha constituency are also represented by AAP MLAs.

Khaira on the other hand, is a three-time MLA from Bholath assembly constituency in Kapurthala district – located at quite a distance from Sangrur - and thus is seen as an ``outsider’’ candidate.

Yet, Khaira, 59, who was jailed for about four months last year facing trial in a drugs case, accuses Mann of vendetta politics. Congress top leadership has also sided with him as well as few others who face cases registered against them during the Mann government. It may be recalled that he was also among the founding members of AAP in Punjab and even won on AAP ticket from Bholath in 2017. Mann had been MP from Sangrur in 2014 and 2019.

He has been spitting fire against Mann calling him ``a new maharaja of Punjab’’ and his party, a ``khas aadmi party’’ and says he chose to fight from Mann’s home turf to teach him a lesson. He was also one of the most vocal Congress leaders who were against having any truck with AAP in Punjab for this general polls.

Hayer, 35, on the other hand, rubbishes Khaira’s charges and accuses him of being involved in illegal activities including drugs trade. He says that AAP has been working hard to restore Punjab’s lost glory. He also highlights various developmental works undertaken by the Mann government – free power supply, mohalla clinics, schools of eminence and jobs for youths.

Notably, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann, 79, who is the sitting MP from Sangrur – he had won the 2022 Lok Sabha by-election that was necessitated after Bhaghwant Mann was elected and became the chief minister - is also in the contest.

Simranjit Singh Mann is known for his pro-Khalistan stance and is also supporting pro-Khalistan radical Sikh leader Amritpal Singh, who is contesting from Khadoor Sahib constituency as an independent candidate. Amritpal Singh is currently lodged in Dibrugarh jail in Assam under stringent National Security Act (NSA).

Also, in the fray are the Shiromani Akali Dal's (SAD's) former MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan, and BJP's two-time MLA Arvind Khanna.

CANDIDATES PROFILE:

Sukhpal Khaira

Khaira was first elected an MLA on Congress ticket in 2007 from Bholath, defeating Shiromani Akali Dal top leader Bibi Jagir Kaur. He was appointed party spokesperson but he resigned from the post in 2014 owning a moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance in that year’s general elections. Later he also resigned from the party and joined AAP and won for the second time in 2017. He was suspended from AAP for anti-party activities. He resigned from the assembly in 2019. He won for the third time in 2022 on Congress ticket, and is chairman of All India Kisan Congress.

Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer

Hayer is a two-time MLA from Barnala constituency and is a Cabinet minister in Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government. He holds departments of higher education, governance reforms, sports and youth services, science and technology and environment. He first won in 2017 by defeating Congress’ Kewal Singh Dhillon and second time, with a huge margin by securing 50% of the votes polled. He is also incharge of AAP’s Youth Wing.

SANGRUR DEMOGRAPHY

Total voters: 15,56,601

Male: 8,24,001

Female: 7,32,554 female

Transgender: 46

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